BJP’s 2nd chief minister in 3 years for Karnataka

July 29th, 2011 - 10:10 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, July 29 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party Friday selects its second chief minister for Karnataka in three years to succeed B. S. Yeddyurappa who is quitting over graft charges.

But the new chief minister will take charge only on July 31 as the 68-year-old Yeddyurappa, a firm believer in astrology and rituals, will resign that day, a day after the end of the Hindu calendar month of Ashada, considered inauspicious for important decisions.

Among the names in contention to become the state’s 20th chief minister are D. V. Sadananda Gowda, former state BJP chief and now Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur, Jagadish Shettar, rural development minister, K.S. Eshwarappa, state BJP president and H. N. Ananth Kumar, general secretary and Bangalore South Lok Sabha member.

The election of the new leader of the BJP legislature party, which has 121 members including the speaker in the 225-strong assembly (with one nominated member), will take place in the presence of senior party leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley.

Also present will be former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu, a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, and general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in charge of party affairs in the state.

Yeddyurappa paved the way for smooth selection of his successor late Thursday by announcing he will resign July 31, over 12 hours after the party parliamentary board told him to quit immediately following Lokayutka N. Santosh Hegde seeking his trial for graft in the illegal mining scam.

The new chief minister will have less than two years in office as the term of the present assembly ends in May 2013.

The BJP came to power for the first time in Karnataka in 2008 assembly polls winning 110 of the 224 elected seats. It formed the government with Bookanakere Siddalingappa Yeddyurappa as chief minister with the help of five independents.

Yeddyurappa and several of his ministers have been mired in a host of controversies in the last three years. Yeddyurappa survived three rebellions against him.

But his attempt to hold on to power by dismissing Lokayukta findings as repetition of old charges did not convince the party leadership which was constantly taunted by the Congress and other parties for retaining Yeddyurappa in spite of a slew of serious charges of corruption and wrongdoing against him and some of his senior ministerial colleagues.

Focus is on not only on who will be the next BJP chief minister in Karnataka. It is also on the role the party will give to Yeddyurappa to ensure the new regime will last the remaining 22 months of the present assembly’s five-year term.

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